Could you pick an Emperor out of a Line-up?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Clavdivs, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    I just wanted to share my limited Licinius collection. I got two out of uncleaned lots, a few for $3 ~ $10 on eBay and paid more for a few from dealers.
    Many find the Jupiter reverse boring.. I do not - I think it's a very detailed and meaningful reverse.. but yes I guess it can get a bit repetitive! I have since added a couple with some variety.
    What fascinates me the most are the portraits. Yes he had a long reign of 18 years - so you expect some change but the difference is striking!.. the change in portrait style and artwork is very interesting.

    I know this is the same with most rulers of this era.

    Could we pick the real Licinius out of a Police Line Up?
    (click image for a closer look....)

    Licinius Collage.jpg


    I thought for fun I could ask members to post two coins of the same Emperor - with portraits that do not look similar at all!
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Nice idea for a thread. Here are 6 portraits of Vespasian.

    vesp ric 685.jpg

    Vespasian RIC 29.jpg

    Vespasian ric 27.jpg

    Vespasian RIC 1473.jpg

    vespasian ric 544.jpg
    Vesp 141 savoca.jpg
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  4. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    My collection is too narrow to really make such an illustration (if I have duplicates, they are usually quite spread throughout the emperor's life). I can make the famous illustration of Maximinus I, the Emperor that the Mint Didn't Know What He Looked Like

    1st - Modified Severus Alexander

    2nd - His chin is big? Surely it can't be that big?
    Maximinus Thrax Liberalitas.jpg

    Bigger? You gotta be joking, right?
    Maximinus thrax victoria avg.jpg

    3rd - We got the official bust in, finally. Oh jeez, he really does look like that?!
    Maximinus Pax.jpg

    @Orfew, how about your Galba denarii? IIRC, you had a pretty impressive variety of portrait styles
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  5. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Nice post...always a lot of variation in the portrait styles between different mint cities, but especially with LRBs. That’s one of the (many) things that I love about collecting ancients, there is just so much variety.

    Here’s a denarius of Caracalla from Rome and a tetradrachm of Caracalla from Tyre with very different portrait styles.

    Caracalla- Tyre
    Caracalla- Rome
  6. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My collection is the exact opposite of Finn's. Below are Septimius Severus denarii from Rome mint in 193 AD. All are quite different in my view so they are not duplicates.
    Virtus reverse:
    ri4020bb0811.jpg ri4030bb1121.jpg ri4040bb0140.jpg ri4050b01076lg.JPG

    Victory reverse:
    ri4060bb0526.jpg ri4070xx0292.jpg ri4080bb1322.jpg

    All of these were struck within a few months of eack other while Septimius was out of town dealing with Pescennius Niger in the East. In the years that follow, the mint standardized the portrait a bit more. These are from the earliest part of 194 AD (IMP II period). rj4090bb0846.jpg rj4095bb3061.jpg

    Did Septimius change during this period or did the mint get a better idea of his appearance? Often the earliest coins of a ruler show a bit of 'development' before settling down on the look deemed appropriate (correct or idealized?).
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  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Numismatic jack of all trades & specialist in none Moderator

    Nice lineup! I think I'd have identified Licinius in all of them except the second left-facing one. That one really is quirky.

    Here are two very different looking Vespasian portraits.

    Well, except for the neck and Adam's apple. He certainly looks much younger on the first.


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  9. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

  10. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Nice set Clavdivs!.....I also have a much smaller set of Licinius ..Here's a few portraits... lic together.jpg
  11. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Two contemporaneous coins from my Constantine I collection:

    Antioch mint, A.D. 321-323
    RIC 34
    Rev: IOVI CONS-ERVATORI - Jupiter, leaning on eagle-tipped scepter, holding Victory on globe; eagle with wreath at feet to right, captive to left
    SMANTB in exergue; X over IIM (truncated) in right field
    19 mm, 3.1 g.
    (Looks like a character from the Simpsons.)

    Nicomedia mint, A.D. 321-324
    RIC 43
    Rev: IOVI CONS-ERVATORI - Jupiter, leaning on eagle-tipped scepter, holding Victory on globe; eagle with wreath at feet to right, captive to left
    SMNB in exergue; X over IIM (truncated) in right field
    19 mm, 2.7 g.
  12. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    As requested, here are my Galba denarii. All of them have interesting portraits.

    RIC 9
    Galba RIC 9.jpg

    RIC 23
    Galba RIC 23 small.jpg
    RIC 31
    Galba RIC 31 CNG.png

    RIC 48a
    Galba Ric 48a #5.jpg

    RIC 62

    Galba RIC 62 new.jpg

    RIC 105

    Galba ric 105 #6.jpg

    RIC 193

    RIC 236

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  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    At one time Hugh Cloke told me he was going to use coin portraits of Constantius such as these to illustrate his steady decline in health through the years. I never did ask him if he followed through with that.

    Constantius portraits - London mint folles

    RIC VI, Londinium, No. 14a, Constantius, Caesar of the West:
    CT (Cloke & Toone), No. 2.01.010 (3), c. AD 296-303, Rarity: C

    FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB C .............................. GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI

    Laureate, cuirassed, bust.
    Small head on a tall neck.
    Reminiscent of Carausius/Allectus Mint "long neck" Antoniniani
    Maybe the work of former Carausius/Allectus Mint die engravers?
    9.8 gm.

    RIC VI, Londinium, No. 20, Constantius, Caesar of the West
    CT (Cloke & Toone), No. 2.01.010 (1), c. AD 296-303, Rarity: C

    FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB C ........................... GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI

    Laureate, cuirassed, bust with long ribbon tie laying on neck.
    London style lettering.
    9.8 gm.

    RIC VI, Londinium, No. 22, Constantius, Caesar of the West:
    CT (Cloke & Toone), No. 2.01.013 (5), c. AD 296-303, Rarity: C

    CONSTANTIVS NOB C ................................. GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI

    Laureate, cuirassed, bust.
    Cuirass with wave design
    11.9 gm.

    RIC VI, Londinium, No. 37a, Constantius, Caesar of the West:
    CT (Cloke & Toone), No. 3.01.024 (2) , c. AD 303-1 May 305, Rarity: C

    CONSTANTIVS NOB C ......................... GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI

    Laureate, cuirassed, bust.
    11.7 gm.

    RIC VI, Londinium, No. 47, Constantius, Augustus of the West
    CT (Cloke & Toone), No. 4.02.003, 1 May 305 - 26 July 306, Rarity: S


    Earliest obverse legend style.
    Laureate, cuirassed, bust.
    9.9 gm.

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  14. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Very interesting Orfew... your Galba RIC 9 seems quite close stylistically to your Julius Caesar denarius.. perhaps it is just the thinner features and longer neck. But that is what I thought of when I first saw it.

    Perhaps I am looking at too many of these :)
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  15. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Yes, you are right. That Galba RIC 9 does look a bit like a Julius Caesar portrait denarius. Good eye!
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  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Here's mine with a somewhat hopeful reverse type of FIDES MILITVM...physicians speculate that he had Acromegaly, so yeah that chin is the real mccoy.


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  17. Hugh Cloke

    Hugh Cloke New Member

    Here are images of two Bourgey electrotypes of Constantius gold multiples from Trier struck in AD 297 and 305 which appear to document his physical decline.

    Attached Files:

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  18. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Comparing the portraits of an emperor across a range of mints over a range of years is almost always going to produce a wide range of portrait styles and it will take study to familiarise yourself with recognising the emperor and mint directly from the portrait. During the Tetrarchy this becomes almost impossible at some mints as they homogenised the portraits.

    I thought it might be worthwhile looking at the chronology of a single emperor across their reign from a single mint as an example of how the image of the emperor can change over a relatively short period.

    I have (almost inevitably) chose Probus from Lugdunum as a starting point. I have used Bastien as the source of the Issue allocation and dating.

    Emission 1. October 276 A.D. (Portrait is generally based on that of Florian, reverses are based on types from Tacitus and Florian)
    Emission 2. November – December 276 A.D. (similar portraits to issue 1 but using new reverse types)
    Emission 3. Start A.D. 277 (the portrait is changing subtly especially around the shape of the nose and the beard)
    Emission 4. Mid to End 277 A.D. (again there are further subtle changes especially around the beard)
    Emission 5. End A.D. 277 to Early A.D. 278. I don't have a directly equivalent bust but have chosen the nearest equivalent. There is a more pronounced change in the portrait here. More cuirass is visible and the portrait that had evolved by emission 4 is scaled down slightly accordingly but the facial features remain from emission 4.
    Emission 6. 278 - 279 A.D. The portraits remain fairly consistent now through to the end of the reign with differences primarily down to the skill of the engraver. There is potentially some indication of the emperor aging in the later issues
    Emission 7. A.D. 280
    Emission 8. Autumn to Late A.D. 281
    Emission 9. January to August A.D. 282

    A similar exercise of showing similar busts from different mints from the same time period might also be useful but I might jut be boring people at this stage.
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  19. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    RI Poppea-Nero BI tetradrachm of Alexandria LI yr10 63-64AD Milne 217 RPC 5275

    Antioch, Syria
    Nero Regnal year 8, Caesarian year 110, (AD 61/62)
    AR Tetradrachm 25 mm x 14.05 grams
    Obverse: NERWNOS KAISAROS SEBASTOU, Laureate bust right, wearing aegis.
    Reverse: Eagle standing left on thunderbolt, palm branch before, H/IP behind.
    Ref: RPC4182
    Ex: @Ancientnoob hoard
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  20. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @Clavdivs, a fun rogues gallery of Licinii. Here are several emperors whom I would be very challenged to pick out in a line-up:
    Look-alikes Blu.jpg

    This empress, I find recognizable by her nose & chin, even with changing hairstyles - here are 3 Faustinae (the II or Junior) all from denarii of the Rome mint and in RCV only labelled as 161-175 AD.
    3 faustinas.jpg

    RCV 5252 Rome 161-175 AD - Fecunditas :
    Faustina II fecunditas.jpg

    RCV 5253 Rome 161-175 AD Fortunae Muliebri ("Feminine Fortune" - one for @Valentinian's list of reverses unique to one emperor with more on this reverse here from @Roman Collector):
    Faustina Muliebri.jpg

    RCV 5256 Rome 161-175 AD Venus:
    Faustina Venus.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  21. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    I would be fooled by the third portrait. To me, it looks just like Faustina, Snr.
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